Erin Tañada: Duterte 'kiss' is 'form of violence'

Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte said there was no malice when he kissed in public a Filipina during a public event in South Korea.

The Quezon politiko made the remark in a Facebook post.

While the woman has defended the kiss and said she was thrilled by her encounter, others said the president went too far.

A gathering of Filipino workers erupted in frenzy when the President planted a friendly kiss on the lips on a woman supporter onstage.

"Men in power should not use the same power to force himself on any woman", Tañada said.

The controversial kissing incident took place in Seoul on Sunday evening, where the president was addressing the Filipino community living in South Korea. "It is just for fun, a gimmick". Asked by the President if it was okay to give her a friendly kiss on the lips, the lady, looking excited to be up close and personal with Duterte, eventually agreed.

Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday said the kiss showed Duterte's caring, fatherly character, and the recipient in Seoul enjoyed the moment.

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Despite the president's acts of misogyny, he remains popular among Filipinos in the Philippines and overseas who mostly depend on social media content from pro-government bloggers.

Women's rights advocates in the Philippines have launched an online #BabaeAko (I Am A Woman) campaign to object to Duterte's "sexist" statements.

Since being elected in mid-2016, Duterte has caused uproar for his comments on women, including rape jokes, boasting about adultery, shaming female critics and inciting soldiers to shoot female guerillas in the vagina.

Duterte was heard telling the woman before kissing her on the lips and embracing her after. There is nothing wrong in a simple kiss - you cause an uproar. He inquired if she could explain to her husband that what they were about to do was just a joke.

"We agree to accelerate people-to-people exchanges along with various cultural cooperation projects", President Moon said.

The woman, who is married to a South Korean and has two daughters, later said in a TV interview that she was thrilled by her face-to-face encounter with the president.

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